Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook

Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change

By Stuart Meck, FAICP



Our planning tools date from another era. They are shopworn and inadequate for the job at hand. Just as states and municipalities experimented with new enabling legislation and local land-use controls prior to the Standard Acts, so too since the 1970s have they begun again to refashion their planning statutes. Some states, like Florida, Maryland, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin have already wholly or partially revamped their planning statutes in order to provide choices and tools for managing growth and change. In others, there are efforts (or least discussions) currently underway on statutory reform. This process of reexamination is not only inevitable, but it is desirable if communities are to respond effectively to change.

To help in this process of reexamination, the American Planning Association has prepared this Legislative Guidebook, which contains model statutes for planning and the management of change as well as commentary that highlights key issues in the use of the statutory tools by states, regional planning agencies, and local governments in their use. In the belief that there is no "one-size-fits all," the model statutes are presented as alternatives that can be adapted by states in response to their particular needs.


Page Count
Date Published
Jan. 1, 2002
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Stuart Meck, FAICP
My website:

Table of Contents


Foreward and Acknowledgments


Chapter 1 – Initiating Planning Statute Reform

Chapter 2 – Purposes and Grant of Power

Chapter 3 – Definitions

Chapter 4 – State Planning

State Planning Agency Organization
State Plans
State Plans
Procedures Related to State Plan Making, Adoption, and Implementation
State Capital Budget and Capital Improvement Program

Chapter 5 – State Land-Use Control

Siting State Facilities
Areas of Critical State Concern
Developments of Regional Impact

Chapter 6 – Regional Planning

Organizational Structure
Plan Preparation
Procedures for Plan Review and Adoption
Relationships and Agreements with Other Units of Government
Miscellaneous Provisions
Designation of Regional Planning Agency as Substate District Organization

Chapter 7 – Local Planning

General Provisions
Organizational Structure
The Local Comprehensive Plan
Procedures for Plan Review, Adoption, and Amendment
Implementation; Agreements with Other Government and Nonprofit Organizations

Chapter 8 – Land Development Regulations

Review of Plats and Plans
Uniform Development Standards
Development Rights and Privileges
Exactions, Impact Fees, and Sequencing of Development
Development Agreements

Chapter 9 – Special and Environmental Land Development Regulations and Land-Use Incentives

Chapter 10 – Administration and Judicial Review of Land-Use Decisions

General Provisions
Unified Development Permit Review Process
Land-Use Review Board
Administrative Actions and Remedies
Judicial Review of Land-Use Decisions

Chapter 11 – Enforcement of Land Development Regulations

General Provisions
Administrative Procedure
Judicial Procedure

Chapter 12 – Integrating State Environmental Policy Acts with Local Planning

Chapter 13 – Financing Required Planning

Local Tax Financing Of Planning
Financial and Technical Assistance for Planning

Chapter 14 – Tax Equity Devices and Tax Relief Programs

Regional [Metropolitan] Tax-Base Sharing
Intergovernmental Agreements
Redevelopment and Tax Relief
Agricultural Districts

Chapter 15 – State Level Geographic Information Systems and Public Records of Plans, Land Development Regulations, and Development Permits

Statewide Geographic Information Systems
Public Records of Plans, Land Development Regulations, and Development Permits

Statements from Members of the Growing Smart Directorate